Archive | Politics

Listen to the Democratic Convention applaud when speaker says she had an abortion.

Yesterday, NARAL president Ilyse Hogue told the Democratic Convention that she had an abortion. You can watch her remarks above, but here’s what she said:

…when I found out I was pregnant years ago. I wanted a family, but it was the wrong time. I made the decision that was best for me — to have an abortion and get compassionate care at a clinic in my own community. Now, years later, my husband and I are parents to two incredible children.

After she said that she had an abortion, delegates applauded. They applauded.

The Democratic platform supports the regime of Roe v. Wade, which means that the party believes that it should be legal to take the life of an unborn child at any stage of pregnancy from 0-9 months. About one million unborn children are killed by abortion every year in the United States alone. Since 1973, nearly 60 million unborn children have been killed legally in our country. That is the holocaust times ten.

Abortion-on-demand is the greatest human rights crisis of our time. And this party applauds a testimonial of participation in our great national shame.

Have mercy.

12

Pepperdine asks to have its Title IX exemption removed

This is fairly significant news reported by The Huffington Post. Pepperdine University has asked to have its Title IX exemption removed. From the report:

Passed in 1972, Title IX “protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance.” An educational institution that is “controlled by a religious organization” may apply for a Title IX exemption if it “would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization.” Pepperdine had originally filed a request for a Title IX exemption in 1976 that was later granted in 1985. The request allowed Pepperdine to take disciplinary action against those who were found “to be involved in heterosexual relationships outside the holy union of wedlock or in homosexual relationships” as well as exclude women from various activities.
Continue Reading →

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“Morning Joe” says Trump is not on the side of social conservatives

I don’t think we can overstate the significance of Peter Thiel’s speech at the RNC on Thursday night. It’s not just that Thiel spoke nor that he said what he said. What was stunning was that the GOP delegates stood to their feet and cheered. No matter where you are in the culture wars, all sides can acknowledge that this represents a sea change for the Republican party.

On Friday morning, the “Morning Joe” crew commented on Thiel’s reception by the GOP delegates. The panel rightly comprehended the significance of it. But what interested me about their discussion is something that Joe remarked on near the end of the video above. Joe directly addresses social conservatives and evangelical Christians and says something that should have been obvious but may not be to some:

It really speaks to Donald Trump’s worldview that he hasn’t really shown during the primary campaign… Social conservatives, if Trump is elected, duck because he’s not on your side on these issues. It’s not like this is the first time we’ve been saying that. He does not care. He has a more open view, and certainly he’s more in line at least with millennial voters and with an awful lot of voters. So that wasn’t a real surprise to any of us that know Donald. It may be a surprise, though, to Jerry Falwell Juniors that go out and say certain things…

It is clear what Joe means by “say certain things.” Throughout the primary season, certain evangelicals have declared Trump to be a born-again Christian or at least to be one who bears the fruit of being a Christian. With that, they have been assuring voters that Trump will take up the causes that evangelicals care most about.

Joe is essentially saying that such a view of Trump is badly mistaken. Trump doesn’t care about sanctity of life, marriage, or religious liberty. He just doesn’t. That is not who he is, although he’d like enough evangelicals to think that he is so that he can get their votes. Is that cynical? You bet. And it also happens to be the sad truth about this candidate.

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Russell Moore on David Duke’s announcing for the Senate

Russell Moore just published a series of tweets about former KKK leader David Duke, who just announced his intention to run for Senator from the state of Louisiana.

I grew up in south Louisiana, and I too remember when Duke ran for governor back in 1990. I also remember that there were plenty of people who thought his candidacy was a great idea. I also remember people driving around town with “Duke” stickers on their vehicles. Those stickers were often accompanied by displays of the Confederate battle flag. Everyone knew what those displays meant. And they didn’t just mean, “I think Stonewall Jackson was a fine Christian gentleman.”

I couldn’t agree more with Moore on this one. See below. Continue Reading →

6

The Ruination of GOP Statesmen

Michael Gerson’s column in The Washington Post today is a burst of moral clarity. Gerson argues that Republican politicians endorsing Donald Trump have sullied themselves, and that includes Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who is the GOP vice-presidential nominee:

Pence did his part at the convention. He displayed considerable political and rhetorical skill. And he brought great shame on himself and the Republican Party in the process…

Every serious Republican who crosses the event horizon of endorsing Trump is sucked into a black hole of compromise and self-deception. And many of us — still loyal to a humane conservatism — will never be able to think about such leaders in the same way again…

The reputation of any politician close to Trump will eventually be ruined. But it is particularly sad when good and decent people vouch for Trump’s character, knowing almost nothing about him… The only politician who will be proud of what he did on Wednesday evening is Ted Cruz, who refused to endorse. He may have been booed on the floor, but I imagine he slept well. And he won’t be ashamed to recount that night to his children and grandchildren.

This is a hard-hitting column. I recommend that you read the whole thing. It really sums up the malaise I’ve felt while watching the GOP convention this week. How can these serious statesmen line-up to endorse a constitutional menace? Ryan, Walker, Rubio, Perry, and others. How could they?

I am with Gerson. I will never be able to think about these leaders in the same way again. Trump has exposed the limits of their judgment and principle. When they should have stood up, they stood down. It is as sad a spectacle as I have ever seen in politics.

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Ross Douthat’s Lament for the GOP…Twitterized

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Could plagiarism and a rick-roll in one speech be an accident?

The message coming out of the first night of the GOP convention can be summed up in one word: PLAGIARISM. Melania Trump’s speech was initially well-received by pundits. But the plaudits were short-lived as it became clear that her speech plagiarized a speech given by Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic Convention.

Trump’s speech will be parsed and analyzed ad infinitum for the next day or so. I’m sure the Trump campaign will have some response (UPDATE: Here it is).

Mrs. Trump is responsible for the words she delivered, but I would simply note that this speech was likely put together by a speech-writer. And that leads to a question. Can this possibly have been an accident?

Could a speech-writer lift an entire paragraph from another speech on accident? Could it be an accident that the plagiarized portion is a section about honesty and character? Also, the speech had a Rick-Roll embedded in it (see below, HT: Josh Philpot). Could that possibly have been an accident?

The way in which this speech went wrong is too cute by half. It looks like intentional sabotage. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would wonder if a #NeverTrump mole had infiltrated the speech writers. But I’m not a conspiracy theorist, so I’ll just admit that I don’t know what happened here.

15

Senator Ben Sasse, a lone voice of moral clarity 

Among congressional Republicans, Senator Ben Sasse is standing almost alone against his party’s presumptive nominee Donald Trump. Sasse has consistently been one of the few clear voices throughout the dumpster fire known as the 2016 presidential election. Earlier this evening, Senator Sasse posted an open-letter to American voters. He argues that it is wrong to vote simply for the lesser of two evils. Too much is at stake in this election. He writes:

To be clear, I have a strong desire for a candidate who is a conservative. But this is more foundational than mere policy differences right now. More important are the virtue of the individual who would serve as our president, as our face to the world, and their understanding of limited government—which is that we believe in the universal dignity of our people and in their inalienable rights.

This discussion is about much more than one election. It is about who we are as a people. It is about what this nation stands for—it is about what America means. Our two dominant political parties will probably come apart, and many of us are going to need to recognize that, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept fundamentally dishonest leaders.

If we shrug at public dishonesty—if we normalize candidates who think that grabbing power makes it okay to say whatever they need to in the short-term—then we will be changed by it. Given what we now know about them, choosing to vote for these two individuals is in some ways less about them than it is about us. I’m not sure how we come back from that.

You need to read the rest of Senator Sasse’s letter. He is right on target about what is at stake in this election. We have before us two documented, cynical liars. If we aquiesce to this, it says something about us, and it will ultimately undermine our republic.

I cannot stress enough how important this message is. Our country will be whatever we make of it for better or for worse. I hope people will listen before it is too late. We need an alternative, and we need one right quick.

14

Supreme Court refuses to defend religious liberty for pharmacists

Last week, I was at a meeting hosted by The Alliance Defending Freedom. There I was introduced to a Christian family who was ordered by the State of Washington to sell abortion-inducing drugs in their family-owned pharmacy (see their story above). This family and two other pharmacists believe that killing unborn children is wrong, and so they sued the state for relief.

In 2012, a federal court ruled that the law violated the free exercise clause of the first amendment and that the law was “riddled with exemptions for secular conduct, but contain no such exemptions for identical religiously-motivated conduct.”

In 2015, however, a federal appeals court overruled and said that the pharmacists and family must violate their consciences in order to do business in Washington State. The family and the pharmacists appealed their case to the Supreme Court.

This morning, the Supreme Court denied to hear their appeal. It means that the lower court ruling stands and that they cannot do business in Washington State unless they are willing to violate their religious beliefs.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote a dissent against the Supreme Court’s decision, and he was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas. You need to read this excerpt from the dissent:

“This case is an ominous sign. At issue are Washington State regulations that are likely to make a pharmacist unemployable if he or she objects on religious grounds to dispensing certain prescription medications. There are strong reasons to doubt whether the regulations were adopted for—or that they actually serve—any legitimate purpose. And there is much evidence that the impetus for the adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with prevailing opinion in the State. Yet the Ninth Circuit held that the regulations do not violate the First Amendment, and this Court does not deem the case worthy of our time. If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern. The Stormans family owns Ralph’s Thriftway, a local grocery store and pharmacy in Olympia, Washington. Devout Christians, the Stormans seek to run their business in accordance with their religious beliefs…. Ralph’s has raised more than ‘slight suspicion’ that the rules challenged here reflect antipathy toward religious beliefs that do not accord with the views of those holding the levers of government power. I would grant certiorari to ensure that Washington’s novel and concededly unnecessary burden on religious objectors does not trample on fundamental rights.” [underline mine]

The fortunes of religious liberty are waning in our country right now. The notion has been diminishing in the popular consciousness, and now the Supreme Court is declining to defend our first freedom as well. Alito is right, this is a “cause for great concern.” If the state can ignore the first amendment and coerce these Christians to violate their conscience, then the state can do anything.

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